Competition: MLS Cup Final – Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Sunday, December 6 – 16:00 ET (21:00 ET)
Match Odds: Columbus 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Portland 12/5
It looks set to be one of the most unpredictable MLS Cup finals in recent memory and both sides will feel they have a genuine shot at success on Sunday evening.
Columbus come into the game as Eastern Conference champions after beating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 over two legs in the last round. They have earned the right to host the final as a result of their goal difference to Portland’s and will hope home comforts can see them lift a second title in their 21-year history.
Columbus Crew’s 2015 MLS record: P38 – W17 – D8 – L13Embed from Getty Images
Portland will be looking to spoil the party though. The Timbers travel to Columbus as Western Conference champions after a fine two-legged performance against FC Dallas, advancing 5-3 on aggregate.
They have a formidable away record in MLS this year and will hope their first ever MLS Cup Final appearance can be a successful one in what is just their fifth season in the league.
Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS record: P39 – W17 – D11 – L11Embed from Getty Images
Caleb Porter’s side will look to score early on Sunday. They haven’t lost a game when scoring first all season and will be able to silence the crowd if they get the go-ahead strike in this one.
This will be just the seventh meeting between the two sides. They are equal in every aspect based on previous meetings as both have won two, drawn two and lost two, scoring and conceding six goals each.
WATCH: 2015 MLS Cup Final Preview Show
Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter has just one injury concern as Kristinn Steindorsson will miss out again. Other than that the Crew have no concerns and are likely to remain unchanged for the final.
Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter will be sweating on the fitness of two of his key men in Liam Ridgewell and Fanendo Adi. Both are doubts but should be passed fit to play. Ben Zemanski is definitely out as he continues to recover from his ACL injury.
Columbus Crew’s last five: W/L/W/W/L
Portland Timbers’ last five: W/D/W/W/D
Key Stat: Portland Timbers have won more away games (8) than any other MLS side in 2015.
Key Player: Kei Kamara – The Columbus Crew striker can single-handedly decide a game if he is at his best and the home fans will be desperate to see the powerful forward carry the Black and Gold to MLS Cup success in this one.Embed from Getty Images
Columbus Crew 1-2 Portland Timbers – This looks set to be one of the most unpredictable MLS Cup finals in a while between two of the league’s most entertaining sides. We should be treated to goals in Columbus on Sunday night but Portland might just stun the Crew by becoming champions.